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The Property Ombusdman - positive partnerships and looking to the future

Tuesday 28 January 2020

The Property Ombudsman has always played a critical role in raising the profile of the organisation and its work, improving its performance, impact and influence, and ensuring that it has the culture, partnerships, and resources in place to be sustainable over the long term.

Following the announcement that she is to step down in November, Propertymark spoke to Katrine Sporle CBE about her time in the role and her plans for the future.

Is there something that you’ve been the proudest of during your time heading up TPO?

First of all my title – I am Ombudsman and Chief Executive, reflecting the fact that the unitary Board and the Executive have worked hard to achieve a modern, forward-looking organisation, that works hard to resolve thousands of consumer disputes a year.

Secondly, enquiries during my time as Ombudsman has risen at an unprecedented rate - from 16,265 to in excess of 30,000, which has demonstrated that the TPO team is resilient, robust and capable of meeting future challenges. My Deputy, Directors, and Adjudicators are experts in their fields, and I know that is what consumers and the sector want: people who know what they are talking about and who add value to the job in hand. 

And, thirdly, the commitment and loyalty of all TPO staff who often take harrowing calls from people who feel they have nowhere else to go. The consumer journey and experience is 100 per cent important to TPO and giving accurate, relevant advice and guidance at first contact stage to empower consumers and underpin local resolution with property agents is an important aspect of an Ombudsman service.

What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the property industry?

Opportunities first - TPO is 100 per cent in support of the recommendations in the report produced by the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group, expertly chaired by Lord Best. This is the time for all organisations in the sector to collaborate and work together to raise professional standards in the sector and improve consumer service.

The challenge is to maintain momentum, especially on up to date Codes of Practice and training. TPO has always worked positively with trade bodies, particularly Propertymark.

Is there any advice you’d give to agents starting their careers? 

The property sector is vibrant, important, multi-faceted, endlessly stimulating and always challenging. Be professional, be an expert in one area before moving on to another. And, above all, take care of your personal reputation.

What's next for you, what are your plans for the future?

It’s a long time until November, and there is still much work to be done, so I am putting off the moment because I know I will be sad to leave. I will miss the role, my colleagues and the many positive working partnerships.


Propertymark works closely with TPO on legislative and technical issues to provide agents with the best possible information. This includes webinars, conference talks, and training. 

Webinar recording Training Consumer Protection